Alex Marlott

Adaptive Immune Response in Equine Pigeon Fever

Faculty Mentor: Karen Molinder, Biology Department

Major: Biochemistry

Funding: Chemistry/Biochemistry Summer Research Endowment


Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis is a gram-positive intracellular anaerobe responsible for the development of abscesses within its hosts.1 Commonly called “Pigeon fever”, a successful vaccine has yet to be developed for the nitrate positive equi biovar infecting horses. We believe examining the adaptive immune response, particularly the role of T helper cells in disease manifestation, will help us to better understand how this infection functions and how it can be targeted with a vaccine. In similar intracellular infections, it is often the hosts with Th1 dominant responses that develop mild forms while those with Th2 dominant responses have more severe infections. The relationship between the TH1 dominant response and reduced pigeon fever severity suggests that a TH1 dominant response is advantageous in C. Pseudotuberculosis infection.


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